Loving the Journal

I am so glad I finally cracked open a journal and started painting last night, because today I wasn't feeling well, and spent most of the day curled up on the couch, surrounded by pups, watching Tim build the vanity, and PAINTING IN MY JOURNAL! Told you, once I got started, there would be no stopping me. So, let's just call this a weekend update... and Day 2 of journaling :)

A couple of years ago I shared a photo of a Mori Girl and said, "...some women dream of diamonds, I dream of boots and wool." After posting that I got a marriage proposal from some guy out in Oregon. I didn't hold him to it, but I am definitely a boots, not heels, kind of woman... always have been. Thought I should write those words down somewhere :)

The other 2 were just flowers, because those of us in the North could certainly use some sunshine and flowers right about now!

I have lots to learn about watercolors and journaling, but I have the rest of my life to do it. For all of you on the fence about trying something new, please, please, please just start! I wasted way too much time being insecure :)

Photos: 3-23-14


Commence Art Journaling

On January 29, 2014 I posted the following on Wee Folk Art's Facebook page:

"The other day I received a package in the mail from Poland. Seems Tim had purchased a beautiful journal for me for Christmas, but it got held up in customs and I just received it. What a wonderful surprise. My journal has a purple and green batik cover, with beautiful aged paper and a beaded jute bookmark. He bought it from the Patiak Esty Shop.

Here is a little secret though... well, won't be anymore... but I have a lot of beautiful journals and all of the pages are still blank. You have to understand I write ALL the time. If I wake up in the middle of the night from a bizarre dream, I write it down. I have post-it notes all over my house with ideas and little writing snippets. I have an exercise I do each night where I come up with the first sentence of a short story. I am always writing as you well know. Can I ever (well occasionally) share a craft without getting all wordy on you? I think not!

BUT when I open a beautiful journal, my mind goes blank. That doesn't happen with my spirals, or post-its, or the back of envelopes. It certainly doesn't happen when I'm sitting at my computer. But give me a lovely journal, and nothing happens. I believe I have JDD... Journal Dysfunction Disorder! I CANNOT write in a journal.

Alas, there sit my beautiful journals... some cloth covered, some leather bound, and all empty, empty!

I guess today I am reaching out... I want to hear that I'm not a complete loon... or at least that I am not alone! Are there more of you out there with JDD or know of a good support group?"

I had so many words of encouragement from our wonderful readers. Just like watercoloring, which I wanted to do for years but somehow could never bring myself to take watercolors to paper, even with the words of encouragement, I simply couldn't bring myself to mar a journal!

So, tonight, I'm sitting here in what can only be described as the set of The Money Pit, while Tim is frantically trying to complete the vanity for the master bathroom before the construction crew needs it. And, although I'm given to hyperbole, I kid you not, THIS is what I'm sitting in...

What I really want to be doing right now is sitting in a theater watching THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, but no... instead I'm cowering in the corner, brushing imaginary spider webs out of my hair, and scraping real mud off the leather couch. (Any idea of what a construction site turns into with a spring thaw? Any idea how much mud 4 dogs can bring in the house when they run through said thaw?)

So, I figure I have 2 options. First, and trust me, if I was a betting woman my money would be on option number 1, is to go crazy and take as many people with me as possible, or option 2, try to center myself and find some beauty in this chaos. I believe it was this last ditch effort to maintain my sanity that pushed me over the edge, and led me to grab my newest journal, a box of watercolors, and finally take a chance.

It may seem like a diminutive accomplishment, but, dear friends, I know I just opened a door and that is BIG! So there you have it, I have finally made a mark in a journal AND I discovered a way to hold on to my sanity for the next few weeks. So, when I feel my left eye twitching, instead of running around the room trying to catch dust mites, I'll pull out my journal, conjure images of beauty, and disappear into a fantasy world for just long enough to recharge my batteries and return to reality with a song in my heart or at least a tune in my head!

Photos: 3-22-2014



Wooden Flowers Made From Drawer Pulls

Has Spring sprung in your wee world? It has in The Thicket, and there are now all sorts of flowers and plants hither and yon. An easy way to add some flora to your wee world is to simply paint some wooden drawer pulls.

Begin with any flat based drawer pulls. Mine are 1 1/2" wide.

Paint the "stem" and the top green.

Paint simple flower shapes on the top. You can make them look realistic or whimsical. There is no "right" way. Children's paintings will look just as lovely as yours!

When they are dry, they are ready to be planted in your gnome/fairy forest!


Pattern for the Flower Fairies can be found HERE.

Pattern for the Gnome Bunk Beds can be found HERE.

Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. Please contact us with any questions.


Photos: 3-20-14, 3-20-14



Faux Salt Glazed Pottery

This week as part of our State Studies Unit, our art project was to recreate the salt glazed pottery, commonly found in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. More on that in a moment.

When I was little, my mom could be uber-organized in the big things. She was great about party planning, making sure snacks and oranges got to soccer games, running the Brownie Troop, and stuff like that. BUT she was awful, and I mean awful about keeping track of the little things. Mail, glasses, books she was reading, and oh my goodness... her car keys where always misplaced. We had to plan into our daily routine of leaving the house time to find her keys. The three of us kids would scatter across the house to check all of the "usual places" but really they could be found anywhere... just never on the key rack hung by the back door. At a young age, I took over control of those little things. I was the one entrusted with hotel keys and emergency cash... because... no one, including my mom, felt secure if she had them.

I could never understand as a kid, how on earth she could misplace things so easily. But now as a mother, with a thousand things on the schedule, homeschooling papers up to my eyeballs, and all that other "stuff" that fills your mind... I am apt to misplace things too. Not quite the same... my keys are always hung on the hook in my hallway (I think my childhood of searching for keys was enough of that nonsense) but books, crafts supplies, and things of that nature, will frequently get misplaced.

And now you may be wondering why I chose to share this tid-bit of chaos with you now, as a prelude to this week's craft project. Well, several weeks ago I ordered a large block of the Sculpey clay need to complete this project. It came in one afternoon and we were having some people over later that day, so I tucked it somewhere safe. I didn't put it away on my clay shelf (yes I have a clay shelf and that would have made so much sense). No, instead I tucked in somewhere safe that I could get to quickly because I knew we needed to do that project in a couple of days. But, a couple of days later I couldn't find it. I spent a week doing little searches to no end. Finally this weekend, when I couldn't put off the project another day, my husband and I looked everywhere for that brick of clay. He even went so far as to check the garbage outside... and nada. It was all in vain. I can't find it anywhere. Oh, it will show up at some point. I tucked it somewhere safe ya know. But it wasn't to be had in time for my girls to complete this project... so we had to improvise.

Materials Needed:
White or Translucent Sculpey Clay
Kosher Salt
Blue Non-Washable but Non-Permanent Marker
Rubbing Alcohol
Cotton Swab

Because of the Sculpey Clay misplacement... my girls did this project, Faux Salt Glazed Pottery, using Salt Dough (recipe here). It worked OK... but the final results were not nearly as nice as the demo version that I made with a small amount of Sculpey Clay that I had on hand.

To start with, I like to warm the sculpey clay by placing it in a plastic baggie and then soaking it in a bowl of hot tap water. This just makes it easier to handle.

Add a few pinches of kosher salt to the clay. About 1/2 tsp per 4oz of clay. This will give it a bit of that bumpy texture and a bit of sheen to the finish.

Make a pinch pot with the clay (or cookie cutter ornaments might be a fun project variation). I find the easiest way to make a pinch pot it actually to roll out long snakes of clay. Wind about a third of the clay around to make a base... then pat it flat. Then wrap the rest of the snakes around and around to make a side wall.

Once you have the basic shape in place, then you can pinch it to smooth out the sides.

We chose to add some cut out designs to our faux salt glazed pots. You can do that if you would like, but it isn't necessary.

Bake in oven according to the clay directions. Typically 275 for 15-30 minutes. While baking you may want to take that time to look up Salt Glazed Pottery on the internet. Note the simplicity of the designs. You can practiced drawing a few designs of your own.

Once you pot has hardened and cooled, use the blue marker to add designs to your pot. Remember to keep them simple.

To add a washed effect, dip a cotton swap in rubbing alcohol. Lightly dab the center of each marker design. The alcohol will spread out the design slightly. Be careful, if you use too much alcohol you may remove the design all together.

When dry, you have a cute faux piece of salt glazed pottery. Remember that these are not food safe and are only for decoration. Make it big enough and it might be a cute place to store your keys. ;)

When we do find our Sculpey clay brick... we will give it another go. I may have the girls make animals or some other fun shapes... possibly ornaments using cookie cutters.

Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. Please contact us with any questions.

PHOTOS: MB 3/16/14


Gnome Bunk Beds

Here is the tutorial, as promised, for our Gnome Bunk Beds. To read the story "Britta's Dilemma :: A Gnome Thicket Adventure", just click HERE!

1" x 6" x 12" wood - I used pine
two branches - 1" x 8"
2 pieces 3/8" x 1" dowel rod
wood or crafting glue
fabric scraps
beeswax wood polish
pattern found HERE

scroll saw (preferable) or hand saw
sander or sand paper
sewing needle
blunt yarn needle


Begin by "ripping" 3 pieces of fabric for the hammocks. For directions on how to rip fabric, check out our blog on Rip and Tear Napkins found HERE. Rip 3 pieces that are 5" x 7". Note, you can cut fabric, but if you do, make sure you follow the grain line so you can "fray" the fabric. You will want to create a fringe. If you need help straightening the grain of your fabric, check out our post on Straighten the Grain of your Fabric found HERE.

Remove enough threads on the 7" sides of the fabric pieces to create a 1/2" fringe. DO NOT fringe the two short sides.

Turn under to the wrong side of the fabric the 2 short edges 1/2". Finger press. (Simply means to run your finger over the fold several times to set a crease.) Using a running stitch, sew the raw edge to the fabric, creating a casing along the fold.

Optional: I hand washed the fabric and dried them in the dryer. I wanted to remove the sizing and soften the fabric.

Make a copy of the pattern. Trace the pattern on the wood. Lightly mark to the two circles for branch placement. Note: I like to cover my patterns with clear contact paper or wide packing tape before I cut them out to make the pattern sturdy. This makes it easier to trace on the wood and it can be reused.

Cut out the base and sand the edges. (Note: If you do not have a scroll saw, you can simply use a rectangle for the base. It will still be lovely!)

Cut your two branches. Make sure you make nice smooth cuts and that the cuts are perpendicular to the height of the branch. This will ensure that it sits firmly and even on the base.

Using a drill and a 3/8" drill bit, drill holes in the center of the bottom of the 2 branches and in the center of the 2 branch placement circles. Make each hole slightly more than 1/2" deep.

Glue the dowel rods into the hole of the branches.

Drill holes in the branches to thread the twine through. Select a drill bit that will make the holes slightly bigger than the eye of your blunt yarn needle. From the bottom of the branch, drill holes at 2", 4 1/2" and 7". Make sure your holes are in a straight line and go all the way through. 

Glue the branches to the base. IMPORTANT: Make sure you position the holes so the holes face the center of the base.

When the glue has dried, use a beeswax wood polish on the wood. Note: To keep all wood toys "healthy", periodically, apply another coat of the wood polish.

Cut 6 pieces of twine 18" long. Thread with a blunt yarn needle.

Thread one piece of twine through each of the casings you sewed.

Center the 2 ends of the twine and pull, gathering the casings.

Using a square knot (right over left, left over right) tie off the 2 ends of the hammocks. Arrange the hammock so the right side of the fabric is showing. The fringed edges should hang over the sides.

NOTE: You will notice that the glue on my base is not dry yet. That is me being impatient and trying to get the tutorial done. DO NOT do this part until the glue is thoroughly dried or you risk pulling the branches out of the base!)

Thread one strand of the twine through the yarn needle.

Going from the center of the branch to the outside of the branch, bring the needle and the twine through the branch.

Do the same with the second piece of twine. One side of the hammock is now attached to the branch. Do the same with the other side, making sure the hammock remains top side up and that you thread the twine through the same positioned hole on the other branch.

Do the same with all 3 hammocks.

To tie the hammocks to the branches, make sure each hammock is centered between the branches. Then, separating the 2 pieces of twine in a hole, bring the twine to the center of the base, cross the twine, then bring them back around to the outside of the branch.

Tie off the twine. Note: you have 2 choices. First, you can knot the twine if you want the hammocks to be permanent. Britta and I like to have the options to seasonally change things in our house, so I tied mine in bows, so I can untie them and put up different hammocks in the future.

So, there you have it... a set of bunk beds ready for visiting gnomes and fairies!


Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. Please contact us with any questions.

Photos: 3-10,11,12-14

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